Saving Young Black Lives: Reversing Suicide Trends

An 8-part limited-series podcast on suicide amongst African-American youth

In 2018 suicide became the second leading cause of death in Black children aged 10-14, and the third leading cause of death in Black adolescents aged 15-19. According to the 2021 Health Disparities Report, four of the five Central East states, excluding the District of Columbia, are among the 25 states with the highest youth suicide rates. Furthermore, researchers have found that Black children are more likely to die by suicide than their White peers.
This podcast series, created in partnership with the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, explores the crisis of Black youth suicide. Survivors, family members, researchers, and behavioral health professionals discuss their experiences, research, policies and practices and offer recommendations to address this issue.
We invite the behavioral health workforce in Central East Region 3 to consider incorporating applicable information from these podcasts into their clinical practice.



Listen on Spotify




Speaker Bios

EP1: When a Parent Loses a Child to Suicide - Tami Charles, Part 1

Mental health advocate and entrepreneur Tami Charles is the mother of Seven Bridges, a Black 10-year-old who died in Louisville in 2019. She discusses his life and the events that led up to her son’s death, including bullying at school that targeted his disability and race.










EP2: Life after the Suicide Death of a Child  - Tami Charles, Part 2

Mental health advocate and entrepreneur Tami Charles is the mother of Seven Bridges, a Black 10-year-old who died in Louisville in 2019. She discusses her son’s final hours and how she is working now to spread awareness around bullying and suicide.









EP3: Surviving a Suicide Attempt - Mike Veny

Mental health public speaker and author Mike Veny is a survivor of suicide attempts as an adolescent. He discusses what led him to attempt suicide, his journey to better mental health, and how parents and educators should speak with youth who are struggling.










EP4: Taking a Knee Led to Taking a Stand for Mental Health -  Kenny Stills

NFL wide receiver Kenny Stills has used his platform to spread awareness about mental health, as well as racial injustice. He discusses how the public backlash against his activism affected him mentally, how therapy helped him on and off the field, his views about actions taken by Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles to protect their mental health, and what led him to hold the Still Growing Summit mental health camp for youth.








EP5: Why Researchers Are Ringing the Alarm - Rhonda Boyd

Psychologist and mental health researcher Dr. Rhonda Boyd was a co-author of a report about Black youth suicide and mental health that was commissioned by the Congressional Black Caucus and led by Dr. Michael A. Lindsey. She discusses what we know about Black youth suicide and mental health, what she has been seeing in youth during the pandemic, and what is needed to reverse troubling trends.  








EP6: “The Talk” is Lifesaving in More Ways Than One - Riana Anderson

Psychologist and mental health researcher Dr. Riana Anderson is an expert on racial trauma and stress, and their effect on the mental health of youth and families. She discusses the effects of systemic racism and the recent American racial reckoning on Black youth, as well as the importance of having “the talk” to their mental health.









EP7: LGBTQ Youth Face Added Mental Health Challenges - Meghan Romanelli

Dr. Meghan Romanelli is a mental health researcher and clinician. She discusses mental health needs, coping abilities and resiliency of LGBTQ youth and young adults of color, as well as unique challenges they face relating to bias and stigma.










EP8: You Can Pray AND Go To Therapy  - Lena Green

Dr. Lena Green is the executive director of New York City’s HOPE Center, which provides mental health services to parishioners of First Corinthian Baptist Church and the Harlem community in Manhattan. She discusses the role of the faith community in addressing mental health stigma and needs.

These podcasts were made available through funding provided by SAMHSA.

McSilver LogoThe NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research is committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and best practices.



AHP logoAdvocates for Human Potential, Inc. improves health and human services systems of care and business operations to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential.


Original Music provided courtesy of Dave “Davey Boy” Lindsey.